So you are thinking about filing bankruptcy and looking for more information. Good; you should know as much as possible about it before making such a big decision in your life. I invite you to explore this site and gain as much from it as you can. Download my books, read the articles and FAQs, and educate yourself. But when you are ready to pick up the phone and call a lawyer (whether it is me or someone else), please consider these tips.
Make an Appointment to See the Lawyer
Do not try to make the phone call the consultation. It can't be for several reasons I will go into later. Don't go into it asking, "I just have a few quick questions," or "I just want to know if I should file bankruptcy," or "Will XXX happen if I file bankruptcy?"
This is because there are no "simple" or "quick" questions when it comes to this. If you want to get the best possible legal opinion on bankruptcy, you simply have to schedule an appointment to go to the lawyer's office to talk to him or her. There is no way around it; it is the only way you are going to get the answers you need.
Don't Ask for a Fee Quote Over the Phone
I know you are strapped for money or you wouldn't be calling bankruptcy attorneys; I get it! "How much" is a very important question and should be asked, just not in the initial phone call. There are many reasons why you shouldn't do this.
As attorneys we aren't trying to hide anything, or try to lure you into our offices for a high pressure sales pitch; we just can't give you an ironclad quote without knowing more about your case, which is what the consultation is for.
Most attorneys, including me, offer a free consultation. Take us up on it! Get a more detailed analysis of your case, and a price quote that is accurate. Most attorneys (including me) charge a flat fee, and fees do not vary that much from one attorney to another.
Be Prepared for the Consultation
A free initial bankruptcy consultation is usually 30-60 minutes. Even then, not all of the possible issues can be addressed at that time. Thus, the more information you are prepared to give the lawyer the better.
This means bringing with you the documentation that the lawyer asks you to bring, as well as anything you have received that gives you concern. If you are seeing a bankruptcy lawyer because you are worried about losing your home to foreclosure, bring the foreclosure papers with you.
Have a Goal for the Bankruptcy
One question I often ask is, "What is your goal?" If you are behind on the mortgage, do you want to try and save it or walk away? This makes a big difference in the type of bankruptcy you would need to file. Have an idea of what you want, and what your main concerns are.
Think about your priorities, and briefly articulate what you are trying to accomplish. It need not be long and involved; a good lawyer will ask pertinent follow-up questions.
Don't Meet at the Last Minute
Sometimes time is short and it isn’t your fault, but if you wait until the last minute to file, you are only going to hurt yourself. Just as you need to prepare for the meeting so as to get the best possible opinion on your options, the lawyer is going to need tome time to prepare the petition properly and accurately to avoid problems.
That said, if you are feeling a sense of urgency, mention it to the lawyer when you call. He or she will be able to determine whether filing is time sensitive and advise you accordingly.
So What Do I Do?
If you live in southern New Jersey and are considering filing bankruptcy, please feel free to call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site for a free consultation in my Woodbury office to discuss your case.
If you have more questions about bankruptcy, then download my free book,Top Questions People Ask About Filing Bankruptcy in New Jersey.